A few tips for planting asparagus can help ensure a successful harvest every year.
Asparagus that is grown at home has a much better flavor than asparagus that is bought from the store. Store-bought asparagus can never compare to the flavor of asparagus that is freshly picked from the garden.
The best part about it is that it’s easy to grow and maintain, and it’s a perennial crop. So if you plant it once, you can harvest it for years to come.
A single planting of asparagus crowns can last for up to 20 years, which is a great return on the initial investment.
Asparagus is easy to grow, and it produces new shoots that are tasty from mid-spring to early summer. These large perennial plants need to be grown in the ground so that they will crop annually for many years. However, it takes a couple of years for new plants to settle in before you can start harvesting, so you need to be patient initially.
This text provides instructions on how to plant and care for asparagus beds. To get started, choose a sunny spot in your garden and dig a trench about 8 inches deep. Then, fill the trench with a mix of compost and soil. Once the trench is filled, plant the asparagus crowns 18 inches apart and cover with 2 inches of soil. Water the asparagus bed deeply and continue to water regularly throughout the growing season. When the asparagus spears are 6-8 inches tall, you can start harvesting them. Enjoy your home-grown asparagus spears all season long!
Planting asparagus – The keys to success
It takes three years to grow asparagus from seed, as opposed to two years when grown from crowns.
You should choose an all-male F1 hybrid cultivar because these produce better and stronger spears. Non-hybrid seeds produce female as well as male plants, which will then produce seedlings that will need to be removed to prevent competition with existing plants. Even F1 all-male seeds can sometimes produce female plants.
Plant seeds indoors in February at a temperature of 13-16 degrees Celsius. Plant them individually into modules filled with seed compost. Allow them to adjust to the new environment and transplant them into their final positions in early June. Prepare the planting site by getting rid of all weeds, then adding at least one bucketful of organic matter, such as garden compost or well-rotted farmyard manure, per square meter.
Or, sow the seeds outside in March or April in rows that are 2.5cm deep and 30-45cm apart. Pull out some of the seedlings so that the ones that remain are 15cm apart. Protect the seedlings from slugs and snails. Move the seedlings to where they will stay permanently the following March.
Preparing the planting area
When choosing a spot to plant asparagus, it is important to consider where it will be growing for many years, as it is a perennial crop.
It is important to plant asparagus in an area that receives at least 8 hours of full sunlight each day. Although asparagus will tolerate partial shade, it will thrive in full sun.
In addition to adequate sunlight, the quality of the overall soil needs to be considered before planting as well. Asparagus grows best in fertile, loose, and well-draining soil.
It’s important to fill the soil with nutrients from the start because your crop will be growing in the same space for 20 years or more.
The best way to improve the fertility and structure of your soil is to work in large amounts of compost before planting. Compost provides nutrients to the soil, increases drainage, and improves the soil structure.
You should work in the equivalent of (2) 5-gallon buckets of compost for every 5 square feet of planting space. You can also use aged or composted manure as an alternative to straight compost. Either way, make sure to work the nutrients in before planting your asparagus!
There is a wide range of gardening tools that can be effectively used to mix compost.
Asparagus plants need good nutrition and weed control to prosper. They can grow quite tall and may require staking, and should be cut back at the end of the season.
Weeding and removing female plants
It is best to weed by hand rather than with a hoe around asparagus plants as they have shallow roots that can be easily damaged. This will help the asparagus bed to be weed-free and the plants to grow better without competition from weeds.
Get rid of any female plants that show up if you’re only growing the male ones.
Late winter is the best time to put mulch on your garden bed to keep weeds at bay and help the soil retain moisture. You may also want to put a weed-suppressing membrane over the bed from autumn to winter to stop annual weeds from growing.
Apply 100g or 3oz of fertilizer per sq meter or yard in early spring. If growth is weak, repeat this application after harvesting has finished.
Asparagus grows tall and feathery over the summer. To avoid the stems breaking and damaging the crown in windy weather, support plants using stakes and twine to make a ‘fence’ on either side of the row.
Cut the foliage down to soil level when it turns yellow in autumn.
You can propagate more plants by dividing the well-established crowns in late winter or early spring, although you should only do this every three years. To do this, dig up the crown and handle it carefully before gently prizing it apart into smaller sections. Each section should have several growing points. You may need to cut some roots if they can’t be pulled apart. Once you have divided the crown, discard any old, woody parts before replanting the new sections straight away, making sure that the buds are visible at the soil surface.
If you want to grow asparagus from seed, take the trouble to isolate male and female plants because only female plants will yield a crop. Asparagus is usually grown from dormant roots, called crowns, which are available in garden centers and online. The plants are either male or female – male plants produce more and better spears, so many modern cultivars are all-male. If you want to grow asparagus from seed, take the trouble to isolate male and female plants because only female plants will yield a crop.
There are several varieties of bamboo to choose from, each producing different flavors, colors, or sizes of shoots, and sometimes only male plants.
Planting asparagus – Should you grow from crowns or seed?
If you are looking to grow asparagus in your backyard, it is easier to grow from crowns which usually leads to a more successful harvest. You will also be able to harvest much earlier.
The roots of 1 to 2-year-old asparagus plants are called asparagus crowns. They produce an edible crop much quicker than seeds because of their advanced stage of growth.
Growing seed crops can be difficult because their small, early growth can be overshadowed by weeds. This competition can have a significant impact on a crop’s production levels. Asparagus seeds can be especially hard to germinate, and it can be easy to mistake them for weeds when maintaining the beds.
When asparagus crowns are planted, they can produce an edible crop the following year. However, if they are grown from seed, it can take up to three years to begin any type of sizable harvest.
Growing asparagus from crowns
Asparagus crowns that are one-year-olds are the usual type that is planted. These can be gotten from garden centers or online suppliers during spring. They should be planted when they are received, with the best time being March. Plant them in an asparagus bed that is only for asparagus instead of intermixing them with other crops.
The ideal location to plant asparagus is in an area that receives full sun; however, it will also do well in dappled shade. There are few soil types that won’t support asparagus growth as long as the soil is well drained. If you have heavy soil, you may want to consider planting asparagus in raised beds. The ideal pH for asparagus growth is 6.5 to 7.5; therefore, if your soil is more acidic, you’ll need to add lime.
Choose fresh ground to plant asparagus to avoid any build-up of pests. Do not replant an old asparagus bed with new asparagus plants.
staking Before planting, weed the ground thoroughly and dig in at least one bucketful of organic matter, such as garden compost or well-rotted farmyard manure, per square meter/yard.
Dig a trench 30cm (1ft) wide and 20cm (8in) deep. Mix garden compost or well-rotted manure into the bottom of the trench and cover with a 5cm (2in) layer of the excavated soil. Create a ridge of soil, 10cm (4in) high, down the middle of the trench.
You should put the crowns on the ridge with the new shoots pointing up, spacing the plants 30-45 cm apart. Be careful with the roots, because they break easily. Mix some organic matter into the trench soil before you put the crowns back in, leaving the bud tips just visible. Space the rows 45 cm apart, and stagger the plants in each row.
After watering your garden, add a layer of well-rotted manure or garden compost to help suppress weeds.
As the crown of the tree starts to poke through the soil, continue to add a few inches of soil, slowly filling in the trench. In a few weeks the trench will be filled in completely.
The trench and fill process allows the asparagus to develop deep roots, which leads to good crop harvests for years.
First-year growth & maintenance
The hardest part of planting and growing asparagus is having to wait to harvest the spears until the second year. Even though the crowns will send up some delicate spears, it is best to let them grow during the first year.
The reason for allowing the crop to grow the first year is to let the crowns develop underneath the soil to their full potential. That means larger and better production in the years that follow.
In the second year, you can harvest some of the spears early, and then let the crop grow to full maturity. After the second year, you can harvest whenever you want, but always let the plants grow until fall.
Harvest spears from mid-April for six to eight weeks in the third to subsequent years.
Use a sharp knife to cut the spears 2.5cm (1in) below the soil surface when they are no more than 18cm (7in) tall. In warm weather, harvest every two to three days for the best quality spears.
Maintaining the crop – Mulching & fertilizing asparagus
Keeping your asparagus bed free of weeds is the best way to ensure a successful crop. Weeds and grass compete for the nutrients that the asparagus need to grow, so a bed full of weeds will produce smaller, less abundant harvests.
A thick layer of mulch will help to suppress and eliminate weeds and weed seeds. This will also help to keep moisture in the soil for plants.
We use either straw or shredded leaves to mulch and keep our beds weed-free throughout the year. A two to four-inch thick layer will work well to keep beds under control. In late fall, we add a few more inches to help insulate and protect the crowns through winter.
We surround the edges of our beds with shredded hardwood bark. Many tree trimming companies have large supplies of it on hand each spring because they use it when trimming trees.
Fertilizing – How to plant & grow asparagus
Perennial crops, like asparagus plants, benefit greatly from added nutrients over time. As with any perennial, they can slowly drain the soil of nutrients as the years roll by.
You should fertilize your plants in late summer or early fall by spreading a few inches of compost around the base of each plant.
Applying these nutrients to the soil in late summer or early fall will help to re-energize the soil and crowns. This will provide a valuable source of fresh nutrients for the following spring harvest.
However, there are a few things you should keep in mind when it comes to asparagus. Asparagus is a low-maintenance crop, but there are a few things to keep in mind. Once established, asparagus beds will provide years of fresh and amazing-tasting crops each spring!
Selecting asparagus plants
There are two types of asparagus plants, male and female. Male plants are usually the preferred choice for gardening.
The farm has had a lot of success growing Jersey Giant, Jersey Knight, and Purple Passion. Male plants usually grow larger and have higher spear production levels.
Not only do they produce a lot, but the purple asparagus also has great flavor. Also, it’s fun to have purple asparagus at the dinner table because it’s so unexpected.